The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed SB 2500, the General Appropriations Act, earlier this week. The Senate budget prioritizes education, the environment, and services to our most vulnerable citizens. It also includes important increases that would greatly benefit the Central Florida area and the entirety of the State. Here are some overall highlights from the Senate proposal:
- $500 million to increase teachers’ salaries.
- $7,837 per student funding, a $181.29 increase from the previous year.
- $632.4 million in Everglades restoration and water quality improvements.
- $125 million for Florida Forever.
- $50 million for spring’s restoration.
- Provides 2 additional circuit court judges and staff for Ninth Circuit.
- Provides 1 additional county court judge and staff for Orange County.
- These additional Judges and staff will help to ease the 33% caseload increase that has occurred over the last few years in Central Florida.
- $387 million for Affordable Housing, leaving the Sadowski Trust Fund intact.
- $50 million for Visit Florida.
- $28 million for Cultural and Museum Program Support and Facilities Grants.
“I am proud of all of the hard work my colleagues have put into developing the Senate’s budget. We have made great strides to make sure we fairly divide funding to benefit all Floridians. This is the Senate’s first offer, and I am hopeful that moving forward we will be able to come to an agreement with the House of Representatives on a budget that continues to benefit all,” said Stewart.